DIRECT SELLERS – TAKE NOTE…
Last week Amazon announced the hiring of 100,000 seasonal workers, up 25% from last year. The retail
giant’s continuing growth is driven, primarily, based on the demands stemming from the e-commerce
market, so Amazon’s hiring trends is an important indicator of the acceptance of online retailing.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has hired more than the number of seasonal workers than
Target, Macy’s and Wal-Mart each hired in anticipation of the retail world’s busiest time of year. And,
unlike Amazon, these companies are reportedly holding steady on their seasonal hires this year.
It’s another proof point in the powerful shift to ecommerce and the emerging power of the direct selling
industry. When you think about it, direct selling companies have had the basic success formula long
before “ecommerce” became part of the cultural vernacular. The industry provides excellent products
along with a personal retail experience. Even the loyalty points and programs available from retails are
a soft parallel to the powerful business opportunity offered by the industry business model.
And ecommerce has gone main stream, reaching beyond the holiday season, where once online
purchases were for those seeking refuge from crowded stores and clogged parking lots. Experian
recently reported that 230 million U.S. consumers, almost 75% of the U.S. population, completed a
purchase online between 2Q14 and 2Q15. Additionally, the US Department of Commerce estimated that
the US retail e-commerce sales in the Q2 2015 accounted for 7.2% of total sales in the US. Conversely,
total retail sales for the same period only grew by 1.6% from the first quarter of 2015 and 1.0 percent
year over year.
This further demonstrates the power of the direct selling business model as offering customers both the
personal shopping experience desired by many, as well as an ecommerce option for those with limited
time and focused buying habits.
According to the 2015 Business Intelligence ecommerce report, the typical U.S. online shopper is a 44
year-old female who holds a college degree and lives in a household earning $110,000 annually.
Comparatively, the typical U.S. consumer is a 47 year-old female who has some high school education
and lives in a household earning approximately $52,000 a year.
While it’s easy to throw out numbers and statistics, the overwhelming groundswell of information is
clear. There is an opportunity to be had, and if direct selling companies are to take advantage of this
economic shift, then they must do so strategically by updating their organization charts, job functions
and ensure they have the right people in the right places.